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More fun with Korean cooking

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Tonight's recipe is spicy noodle soup, or Sujebi.  Actually, the video included in this post contains two recipes, one spicy and one plain.  I highly suggest going the spicy route.  Most grocery stores carry some form of jarred Kimchi and they are typically more than enough to get you through a basic soup recipe like this one:

If you are in the mood for something a bit more simple, there are a number of wonderful recipes you can cook up with some basic stock, a few veggies, and a jar of pre-made Kimchi.  One of my favorite winter meals goes as follows:

  • Bring 2 cups of medium grain rice to a boil with 3 cups water.  Cover, reduce temperature, and simmer until sticky (12-14 minutes).  Turn off the burner but do not remove the pot from the heat and do not remove the lid. 
  • While you are cooking the rice, heat 2 T cooking oil in a large enamel-covered dutch oven (For those of you who do not own one of these wonderful pans, I highly suggest the 6.5 quart Tramontina model from WalMart.  It is 100% on par with models that cost $200-300 more.  We use this pan more than any other item in our kitchen and it has a fairly interesting back-story to boot. These things sell out in a hurry when WalMart puts them on the shelf and you may have to use their site-to-store option to pick one up.) 
  • Quickly brown your choice of main ingredient; pork, chicken, beef, or tofu will work just fine.  My personal favorite is thinly sliced pork or 1/2 inch tofu cubes.
  • When your main ingredient is browned, put in 1-2 cups of stock (chicken, beef, or veggie depending on your taste).
  • Cook for 10 minutes before adding an entire jar of pre-made Kimchi to the pot along with some green onions (or other veggies of your choice). 
  • Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  • To serve, take an ice cream scooper and place a large ball of sticky rice in the center of a bowl.  Ladle the Kimchi soup over the rice and enjoy.  

While most people associate Korean cuisine with bulgogi and Kimchi, the real workhorse of Korean eating is its soups.  Koreans are masters of one-pot comfort soups.  Korean soups are peasant dish cuisine at its finest.  Most of their soups are hearty, yet healthy; and spicy, yet not overwhelming. 

The next time you head on out to a Korean restaurant, I highly suggest trying something like a Budae Chigae (army base stew) or some variation of a thick bean paste soup that is popular during the winter months (doenjang chigae).  Simple, common, and delicious. 

Until later.

PS: Consider this yet another open thread for trade speculation...if you don't want to talk about wonderful Korean soups.